Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) ignited a conservative firestorm Friday after vetoing one of the most comprehensive pro-life bills ever proposed since the passage of Roe v. Wade.
House Bill 258 would ban any abortion after a child’s first heartbeat is detected. Since fetal heartbeats, in some cases, can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, this would limit abortions to well within the first trimester. This is the second time that Kasich has vetoed this bill.
Additionally, Kasich passed Senate Bill 145, an act that restricts one of the most common methods in which second-trimester abortions are performed. The Dismemberment Abortion Ban, as the bill is known, restricts doctors from performing procedures in which dismemberment of the fetus occurs.
Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life, hailed the decision, stating:
Ohioans can sleep easier tonight, knowing that the horrendous practice of dismemberment abortions is behind us…Pro-Life Ohio will not stop until the Abortion Report reads: Zero. Nothing to report
In spite of this success, many Ohio conservatives are furious that Kasich has once again vetoed the fetal heartbeat bill. Conservative lawmakers are already looking at methods by which to override the governor’s veto as early as December 27.
However, many lawmakers suggest that the party focus its efforts on the future as Ohio Republican Gov.-elect Mike DeWine has on several occasions expressed a willingness to sign such a bill, should he be given the opportunity.
In a written statement (available below) released following the veto, Kasich said that the bill would most likely be considered “unconstitutional.” He noted:
The state of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit and…will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers
Pro-Life activist Janet Porter, one of the most active supporters of the fetal heartbeat bill, suggests that the point of the bill is to bring an abortion debate back to the Supreme Court. In 2016, after Kasich vetoed the first bill, she said:
This is an incremental bill … We drafted this bill, we literally crafted this legislation to be the arrow in the heart of Roe v. Wade. It is made to come before the United States Supreme Court.
Since taking office in 2011, Kasich has signed more than 20 bills in support of a pro-life agenda. The most controversial of these decisions has been a 20-week abortion limit that many progressives argue is unconstitutional.
While his decision to veto the bill was a setback for many pro-life activists, Gonidakis maintains “the prospect of ending abortion in Ohio has never looked better.”
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].